What Brands Can Learn From Early Presidential Campaigning on Snapchat


Are the efforts of presidential hopefuls seeking to capture younger voters already playing out on Snapchat? Presidential candidates from both sides are already hard at work trying to capture the nation’s interest for the primary elections. Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike are working hard to build name recognition, clarify their positioning and advance their stances on key issues that relate to their platforms. Snapchat could be one of the key target territories that candidates use to get traction. But it’s critically important that politicians and their strategy teams take the time to get to know Snapchat, create authentic content, and avoid looking contrived in an effort to connect with younger viewers. Here’s a closer look at why this crop of politicians is paying attention to Snapchat and some of the key takeaways that brands should bear in mind from these case studies.

Preparing for the Race

One of the biggest potential applications for the Presidential race coverage at Snapchat may come from within the app’s team itself. Snapchat recently hired veteran reporter Peter Hamby as head of news and other recent job postings have been looking for political reporters and news junkies to join a new content team. The ads suggest that in addition to doing original reporting on the race and related events, that these content analyst positions will curate submissions by members using the Our Stories feature.

The idea would be to gather user generated content from debates, conferences, local events and more to create a unique user-led view of the race as it plays out across the nation. Putting the infrastructure in place to offer some of the leading coverage of election-related events could be a good move for the app, in addition to the efforts being concentrated there by candidates themselves.

Showcasing Events and Dedicated Accounts

The exact nature of how politicians are interacting Snapchat is still unfolding. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush both incorporated coverage of their announcements of the presidential race on Snapchat. Not only was the moment itself widely broadcast, but the app provided sneak previews and behind the scenes clips for interested users as well. The focus on Snapchat having a key presence in the race is definitely unfolding. Many individual candidates also have their own dedicated accounts – from Carly Fiorona’s “carlyforamerica” to Rand Pual’s “senatorrandpaul.” What will be interesting is to see how individual candidates employ different strategies leading up to the primaries and then again once the final party candidates are chosen.

Why Social Video Matters In This Election

In the last two election cycles, social media has played a major role in the general marketing and media mix of candidates. But in this election year in particular, having a presence on video networks is going to be key. In the past, candidates have often been able to blast short text updates to pages on Facebook and accounts on Twitter. Today’s users, especially Gen Z and Millennials, are hungry for video and images. While it creates more work for election teams, it also creates more opportunities. Some things to think about include:

Learning the Network: Understanding how Snapchat works is essential. Simply repurposing snippets of footage from other events won’t lead to successful engagement on the network. Instead, candidates and their teams need to make the time to understand the Snapchat ecosystem and develop a customized strategy that makes the most of their assets to create content that’s original, interesting, and targeted to both the audience and the platform.

Younger audiences: Studies have shown that Snapchat’s audience is young and active. In particular, engaging on these networks will give candidates a chance to interact with people who may not have voted up until now either due to age or by choice. However, while it’s important that candidates choose a format and tone that connects with younger audiences it’s critical that they don’t seem awkward or contrived.

Authenticity: By the very nature of Snapchat, it’s a fun and informal place. In particular, when candidates are trying to reach younger voters it can be challenging to hit the right notes. The public is hungry to move beyond the PR machine and the public face and figure out who these individuals really are. Snapchat provides a platform where candidates can be more informal – but they have to be authentic from the start.

Video content: Snapchat is another platform that candidates can access to share soundbites, targeted platform information, insider looks, and carefully selected “moments” from the campaign trail. However, it’s important that candidates are creating focused user experiences and not simply repurposing content that’s not going to resonate with viewers.

As the race continues to evolve, it seems likely that candidates will be focusing on three different Snapchat strategies: increasing engagement, perfecting their distribution, and amplifying their messages through influencer marketing. Brands can learn a lot as the strategies and campaigns continue to unfold over the next several months. If you’re interested in putting Snapchat to work in your own efforts to connect your brand with younger users, you don’t have to go it alone. An experienced group like fullbottle can ensure that you’re focused on the right network, developing effective content, and building relationships with the right influencers to distribute it widely.

Are you interested in learning more about how your brand can use influencer marketing to get traction on Snapchat? Contact fullbottle today to learn more about our solutions and services.

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